Rahab: the grace of God setting up its way-marks
The second chapter
contains the interesting history of Rahab.
How beautiful. it is to
see the grace of God setting up its waymarks from
the beginning, that the eye of faith may know where to
rest, when God was obliged to narrow His dealings with
respect to man, and to limit Himself in His relationship
to man, until the precious blood of Christ gave that
grace its full scope and liberty! Seed of the woman, seed
of Abraham, seed of Davidit narrows more and more.
The promises even, as to the government of God, give
place to the law, until a small remnant of Israel, proud
in proportion to its poverty, becomes the vessel which
contains the yet smaller remnant of faithful ones who
were waiting for the redemption of Israel.
And what shallow thoughts,
though true ones, were found in the hearts of these
precious saints, in comparison with the hopes of an
Abraham and the solemn declarations of an Enoch! The Lord,
ever perfect, ever precious, might well say (one
understands it, although the depths of His heart are
infinitely beyond our reach), "I have a baptism to
be baptised with, and how am I straitened till it be
accomplished!" But there have always been these
signals for faith. If God acts, He goes beyond the limits
of the existing dispensation, and oversteps His
established relationships with man.
God's goodness not
limited to the existing dispensation
It is thus that the divine
nature of Jesus, and the divine rights of His Person,
manifested themselves. He was only sent to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel. This was the limit of His formal
relationship with men. But if faith lays hold of the
goodness of God, can this goodness deny itself, or limit
itself to those who, for the time being, were the alone
subjects of His dispensation? No, Christ could not say,
God is not good, I am not good, to the degree you have
imagined. How could God deny Himself? The Syrophenician
woman obtains what she asks for. Precious prerogative of
faith, which knows and owns God through everything; which
honours Him as He is, and ever finds Him what He is!
Wherein was manifested
that faith in Rahab which the apostle cites as a pattern?admirable
proof that the way in which God acts in grace is before
and above law; that grace overleaps the boundary which
law prescribes to man, even while maintaining its
authorityan authority however which can only
manifest itself in condemnation! What then was Rahab's
faith? It was the faith which recognises that God is with
His people, all weak and few as they may be and not yet
possessed of their inheritance, wandering on the earth
without a country, but beloved of God.
identification of herself with God's people
If Abraham believed God
when there was not a people, Rahab identified herself
with this people when they had nothing but God. She well
knew that the inheritance was theirs, and that, however
strong their enemies might be, in spite of their walled
cities and their chariots of iron, their heart was melted.
This is always the case with the instruments of the enemy,
whatever appearances may be, when the people of God are
under the guidance of the Spirit of God in the path of
obedience which God has marked out for them.
Thus, in the midst of
heathens, this poor simple woman, a bad and despised
member of an accursed race doomed to destruction, is
saved, and her name is a testimony to the glory of God.
Her house, recognised by the sure mark, the line of
scarlet thread, becomes the refuge and the security of
all who take shelter in it, trusting to the promise given.